By Adedayo Akinwale
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, has lamented that the country has continued to experience various violent conflicts connected with ethnic, religious and sectional nationalities since the return to democratic governance in 1999.
The minister disclosed this Thursday while commissioning an electronic library and three operational vehicles at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR).
According to him, “As you savour this moment, you will agree with me that since the return to democratic governance in 1999, Nigeria has continued to experience various violent conflicts connected with ethnic, religious and sectional nationalities. It was against this background that IPCR was established under the ministry in February 2000 as an apex think-thank and research agency of government to strengthen Nigeria’s capacity for the promotion of peace and conflict resolution.”
The minister said that despite this, the recurring high level of insecurity has continued unabated, adding that there was the need to further deliberate and recommend appropriate actions towards achieving sustainable peace in the country.
Onyeama therefore urged the institute to start thinking of how peace can be achieved in Nigeria.
He added: “While the commissioning of the institute’s e-Library amongst others will no doubt spur the institute to the much-needed innovation for a well coordinated and secured environment, it is our prayer that the institute vigorously undertakes implementable strategic conflict assessments for the purpose of proffering solutions to the security challenges facing the country.”
The minister also expressed the readiness of his ministry to support and collaborate with the institute to forge a transformative partnership in dealing with security challenges caused by Boko Haram insurgents and many more.
Earlier, the Director General of the Institute, Mr. Bakut Bakut, said that as the premier think-tank on peace, security and development, the institute has been working to deliver on its mandate through strategic research, policy advise, capacity building, advocacy/sensitisation and direct intervention.
He stressed that the state of insecurity and dysfunctional conflict in the country and indeed across Africa has made the institute to conduct research, develop policies, undertake sensitisation and advocacy, and directly intervene to reduce human sufferings, enhance the freedom from fear, want and indignity in the country.
He said that the rationale behind this initiative was to identify and pick up conflict early warning signs for emergency response and to further ensure speedy interventions in the occasion of violent conflict in Nigeria.
Bakut noted that the issues of peace and conflict resolution being hatched at the institute will continue to occupy the front burner of national discourse.